One of my favorite things to do with my oldest dog Maggie is to take her swimming, she loves it! It’s great low resistance exercise for her. Maggie has been swimming since she was about 8 months old. We began teaching her to swim around 5 months of age to build her confidence. We made everything that had to with the water, a game!
Swimming with your dog can be a great time, however it’s important to know your dog and their limits first. You want to make sure they are safe, you don’t want them to get tired in the water, and if your dog is not a strong swimmer, a life jacket might be a good idea. For most dogs, swimming comes naturally. So much so in fact, you may have to make the decision to pull them out of the water or they might just stay all day!
Well you’ve been in and out of the water all day, now it’s time to dry off! It’s a good idea to remove the collar when you get out of the water, or before you start swimming. The last thing you want hanging around their necks is a soggy stinky collar for a few reasons. Firstly, it smells like a cross between the lake and wet dog. Secondly it holds bacteria close to their skin as they are drying, which is especially important for our hairy doggie friends. Ear infections and hot spots are more common in dogs that swim, to help with ear infections, always make sure you dry your dog properly. You can also put some ear cleaner in their ears before they get in the water, that way their ears are filled with cleaner rather than water which can contribute to an ear infection. A hot spot is an angry skin infection from the bacteria that is already hanging out on your dogs skin. Thorough drying and careful inspection of your pet weekly can help to alleviate these or at very least, catch them before they get itchy and painful.
Swimming is one way to keep your dog fit and it’s fun too, jump in!